It is one of the oldest bacterial disease known to mankind. Leprosy was recognized in the ancient civilizations of China, Egypt and India. The first known written mention of leprosy is dated 600 BC. Throughout history, the afflicted have often been ostracized by their communities and families.
The patient develops light colored patch or patches on the body with loss of sensation to touch, hot, cold & pain. Lesions do not heal after several weeks to months.
The patch can be red with thick raised shiny areas. There can be associated tingling and numbness on hands & feet. Loss of sensation can lead to.
- Blisters & ulcers on the soles & finger tips
- Deformities of fingers & toes
- Acute serious reactions can occur in Leprosy requiring urgent treatment.
- Skin smear for AFB is done which shows Mycobacterium Leprae, the causative agent for Leprosy.
- Skin Biopsy will confirm the disease
- Early diagnosis and treatment limits the spread of disease and disabilities.
- It is a completely curable disease, which requires long term – multi drug therapy of about 6 – 12 months.
- Different antibiotics (including dapsone, rifampin, clofazamine, fluoroquinolones, macrolides, and minocycline) are used.
- Aspirin, prednisone, or thalidomide are used to control inflammation.
Leprosy Elimination: Access to information, diagnosis and treatment with multidrug therapy (MDT) remain key elements in the strategy to eliminate the disease as a public health problem. Leprosy has been eliminated from 119 countries.